Robert E. Lee

Richard Berry

U.S. Mil: Acady West Point

8 Dec. 1853.

Dear Sir.

I have recd your letter of the 5th Inst: requesting information relative to the standing of your son. to enable you to judge of the propriety of permitting him to resign his appointment of Cadet.

I regret to inform you that his present proficiency in his course, does not in the opinion of his Profr. authorize any hope of his being able to pass the semi-annual examination in Jany. & that unless some great improvement takes place between this & that time, he can hold out no expectation of his doing so. If from your communication with your son, you find him to be of the same opinion, & that he cannot be prepared for the examination; I think it preferable to allow him to resign, than subject him to the pain & mortification of failure; as I can see no good that would result from his awaiting his examination. Should he however stand his examination & fail; provided his conduct continues as good as at present; he would in all probability be allowed by the Secy of War the privilege of resigning.

This would still I think be more unpleasant to him & to yourself, than resigning at this time; & I would recommend the latter course, unless in your opinion some benefit would be derived from the former. I can fully understand your feelings on the subject, & sympathize in your embarrassment, which I very much regret it is not in my power to relieve.

I remain Very resply. Your obedt Servt.Sigd./ R. E. Lee. Br. Col:
Supt: Mil: Acady.

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 3, pp. 75–76. Addressed “Richard Berry Esq New York”